Co-Living Startups Are Reinventing The Roommate Concept

By Annie Sciacca and Marisa Kendall
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Co-living spaces can be especially attractive to young people as the shared homes offer both an affordable place to live and a ready-made group of friends.

OAKLAND, Calif.

As demand for housing stays high across the Bay Area, a new trend in group living has come to the region.

A far cry from the commune movement of the 1970s, companies are offering modern shared-living arrangements, renting out space in multi-bedroom units to those who want the affordability or companionship of living with roommates without having to find their own roommates. As a bonus, these “co-living” spaces also often provide amenities such as cleaning services and HBO.

The latest addition to the mix is a company called Common, which works with developers and building owners to create apartments that are conducive to roommate life. Most units have three or four bedrooms and a common area that includes a kitchen and living room.

Potential renters apply through Common for a room, and if they are accepted, they can get a minimum six-month lease, though according to company staff, most sign on for a year.

Living with roommates is nothing new, of course, but a growing crop of startups is seeking to make the process streamlined, and turning co-living into big business.

“It’s a big trend that’s here to stay, for as long as a lot more people want to move into big cities,” said Niko Bonatsos, managing director of General Catalyst and an investor in co-living startup HubHaus.

Other companies have sprung up in recent years to serve a largely millennial audience with similar arrangements.

WeLive, from the people who started co-working company WeWork, has buildings in New York and Washington, D.C., that let people stay for as little as one night, though they can also live there longer term.

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